A few days back, when actress Mallika Sherawat was speaking to the press at the Cannes 2013 film fest, I could not help but laugh out loud at her fake-accent and her wannabe-ness that put her stupidity in the spotlight. I wonder whether she lost it in her effort to speak ‘propah’ English or did she really mean what she said at a prestigious international platform like that. Needless to say, the actress got her 15 seconds of fame but her words did not go down well with the Indian press and some fellow Indians alike.
Here is my take on what she said and what it actually meant:
I was the first woman in India to kiss on-screen and wear a bikini: Really? A quick Google search and it took me a few seconds to know that it was actually way back in 1933 when Devika Rani, a successful actress, took the bold step of kissing her real husband, Himanshu Rai in the movie ‘Karma’. And quite a kiss it was! Also, long before Mallika donned that two piece teeny-weeny garb in her debut, I can count Sharmila Tagore, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi as one of the earliest entrants in the league. By the way, did I mention how Ms Sherawat went on boasting about how she became a fallen woman and a superstar (cough*cough) post her kissing and bikini stint!
‘Hurrr Battumless’ accent and mannerisms: In a bid to get her R’s right, she forgot to mind her Ps and Qs. I agree that Indian society remains feudal at large and that women have still not been given the respect and place they deserve, but does that mean that you would go about bad mouthing the entire country before millions of foreign nationals who are already living with a prejudiced mindset about Indians. Generalising the entire population of the country as regressive and backward is not a fair practice. Why? Because good and bad humans exist everywhere.
I was the first actress to be cast by Jackie Chan in a movie called ‘Myth’ that brought me to Cannes: Mallika’s statement is half true and vague. Did she mean that she was the first Indian actress to do a Jackie Chan film? Or did she mean that she was the first Indian actress to do a Hollywood film?
I did everything (in my career) that I was not supposed to do: Yes darling, you are absolutely right and your Cannes 2013 interview is no exception.
Seriously, Indians attempting to speak in accented English whether in the UK or US, simply to gain acceptance or look cool end up making a fool of themselves. An Au natural accent and some homegrown wisdom is the key to make that long lasting impression. No?